Until 1991 – you know, back in the dark ages – the internet could only be used for education and research. Schools and research institutions utilized dedicated servers, so there was no need for third-party web hosting.
Today, however, all that has changed as offer a wide range of services and products. With so many options to choose from, however, it can be hard to distinguish the serious players from those not built to last.
One long-standing company is for short – which started in 1999 with a server in a Midwest living room. Since then, it’s grown to hosting almost from its 11,000-square-foot data center in Columbus, Ohio. As their website says, this established track record and sustained growth means they’re no fly-by-night operation that’s going away anytime soon.
In 2015, however, by Endurance International Group (EIG), which has a portfolio of 60 web hosting services including Bluehost, HostGator, and Site5. This led customers to fear the company would be shut down and their accounts migrated to one of EIG’s other hosting providers. Still, even two years after this announcement, everything was still the same at IX.
This changed in January 2018 when IX informed its customers they would be migrated. Where do things stand now? Should you still consider IX for hosting services? How does IX compare to Site5?
We’ll cover all those bases and more in this review.
How Does IX Web Hosting Work?
IX offers services such as web hosting, virtual private servers (VPS), and domain registration. Available add-ons include ecommerce Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates, merchant accounts, a website moving service, SiteLock security, and website building software.
There is also a well-developed knowledge base for users including FAQs, articles, and videos. Customer support is offered via email and chat. Linux and Windows shared web hosting costs range from $3.95 to $7.95 per month, Linux VPS from $54.95 to $89.95 per month, and Windows VPS from $69.95 to $104.95 per month.
Uptime is key for every web hosting service – after all, if your site is down nothing else matters – and IX has made this a priority. IX owns its own tier 3 (N+1) data center instead of sharing one, and the redundancies built into a tier 3 system mean power supplies are balanced to avoid overheating, and in the case of a power outage, there are two industrial generators to supply continuous operating power. The company’s headquarters are also located at its data center.
Security is also a high priority as it’s estimated one websites is hacked every year, and IX uses SiteLock to protect its sites. Monitoring services are in place to immediately notify you if any of your web addresses show up in blacklists from Google, McAfee, and/or Norton.
Discovery services check over 12 million IX-hosted webpages and files every day for viruses and other malware. If malicious code is identified, recovery services automatically correct web page code to prevent visitors’ computers from being infected.
IX Web Hosting’s Unique Features
The key word to use when describing IX’s hosting services is “unlimited.” Even their baseline $3.95 per month shared-hosting plan includes unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited hosted domains, and unlimited email accounts.
MySQL and MSSQL databases are free along with redundant networking and routing. Plus, IX’s add-on products and services further expand user options.
One example is IX’s merchant account system which is available to US customers. It’s a well-integrated credit card processor which not only works for internet sales and auctions but can also be used for phone and mail orders. There’s no application fee, and setup is quick and easy as its application programming interface (API) utilizes a free virtual terminal. It works with all major shopping cart software, and transaction fees start at only 1.15%.
IX’s website builder is also powerful and easy to use for anyone who doesn’t want to deal with the nuts and bolts of coding. There are plenty of templates to choose from – you can even build custom Facebook pages – and its drag-and-drop tools and widgets let you customize your site’s look to suit your needs.
At any time, you can edit your pages, all of which are optimized for search engines, and templates are mobile-ready for easy viewing on smartphones and other mobile devices. The price for all this is only $5 a month.
There are two hosting plans: shared (Linux and Windows) and VPS (X4 and X8 Linux and Windows).
As noted above, shared plans come with unlimited storage and bandwidth. Both hosting plans include unlimited hosted domains. Each shared plan also includes at least one free domain. (Additional domains can be purchased for $12.95.)
All VPS plans come with two dedicated internet protocol (IP) addresses. Prices below are per month.
- Expert ($3.95): Up to 2 dedicated IPs and 1 free domain
- Business Plus ($7.95): Up to 3 dedicated IPs and 2 free domains
- Unlimited Pro ($7.95): Up to 15 dedicated IPs and 3 free domains
- Business Plus ($4.50): 3 free IPs and 2 free domains
- Unlimited Pro ($9.95): 15 free IPs and 3 free domains
- X4 ($54.95): 4x CPU cores, 768MB RAM, 1500GB data transfer, 50GB storage, cPanel or Plesk control panel
- X8 ($89.95): 8x CPU cores, 2048MB RAM, 2000GB data transfer, 100 GB storage, cPanel or Plesk control panel
- X4 ($69.95): 4x CPU cores, 768MB RAM, 1500GB data transfer, 50GB storage, Plesk 10 control panel
- X8 ($104.95): 8x CPU cores, 2048MB RAM, 2000GB data transfer, 100GB storage, Plesk 10 control panel
Want a test drive? You can try out any of IX’s plans free for seven days, and even after purchasing one, there’s an additional thirty-day money-back guarantee.
What Do People Think of IX?
There aretwo of recent thought about IX: before and after the January 2018 announcement about the Site5 migration.
Overall, when talking about IX’s products and services, users had mixed feelings. For some, technical issues and downtime were minimal, prices were competitive, and support personnel were both knowledgeable and helpful. IX’s emphasis on search engine optimization (SEO) was also seen as a plus.
For other users, however, the “unlimited” storage space didn’t always work out that way in practice, and downtime was more frequent than the 99.9% guaranteed uptime. Plus, there is no clear policy regarding the frequency of data backup, and there is no dedicated server plan available.
After the Site5 migration was announced, users reported customer service by phone ended and is only available via email or support ticket. In addition, since the beginning of 2018.
Moving hundreds of thousands of accounts and related data is always slow and problematic, and some downtime of a day or more or even site data being lost.
What We Think
Given the migration to Site5, the key thing is how its products and services match up with IX’s.
Site5 was also acquired by EIG in 2015. Like IX, it offers shared hosting and VPS plans, but in addition it provides reseller hosting and performs nightly data backups. Site5 uses the Linux operating system while IX uses both Linux and Windows. (Site5, unlike IX, also doesn’t appear to support ASP.NET.). Likeite5’s shared hosting plans provide unlimited bandwidth and storage. Its two more expensive plans also support an unlimited number of websites, but the basic plan comes with just one.
Site5’s three plans for shared web hosting are more expensive than IX’s and even with the discount for an annual subscription purchase, range from $8.95 to $14.95 per month. VPS hosting is slightly more than the IX prices above. Unlike IX, no free domains are provided.
So, how will the differences between IX and Site5 be resolved?
The simple answer is: Who knows?
It’s troubling the IX website doesn’t make it clear that customers and services are being moved to Site5.
It’s only when you try to make a purchase you are given the option to log in with your IX account or sign up for a new one at Site5. There’s also no information available at Site5 regarding the IX migration. Site5’s social media accounts don’t provide any help either. Its Facebook page hasn’t been updated since August 2016 and its Twitter account since August 2017.
Honestly, you’re rolling the dice by signing up with IX Web Hosting. Even though it has an established track record, its own data center, highly competitive prices, and robust web hosting options, the situation is a little up in the air for most people to commit to even a monthly plan.
In the end, making the decision to migrate your site(s) from one provider to another can be a daunting task even on your own schedule. Given the massive scale of IX’s 500,000 websites and data being moved, you might want to wait until the dust settles before risking your own websites, data, and customers.
Then again, depending on how IX’s customer contracts are reconciled with Site5 after migration is complete, you might just find yourself with a great deal.
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